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Week of November 16th – Joy in Return

“Come, share your master’s joy” declares Jesus as he tells the parable in the Gospel of Matthew )25:14 – 30.

This parable tells the tale of a rich man who leaves his servants in charge of varying amounts of money, “talents.”  Some earn more by investing wisely, using the “talents” they have been given.  One just buries his “talent” out of fear.  The reward for those who have used their “talents” wisely is joy.

Jesus doesn’t say come, share your master’s riches, or fine food or social status, or leisure life, etc, but rather only joy.

Only joy!

When we use our God given gifts and talents the experience is often that of joy – whether we earn a wage by doing so or not!

You can probably recall a time when you experienced deep joy by participating in an activity, creating something, or completing a project that called forth your special gifts.  In the midst of that joy were you wanting for anything more?  Didn’t that sense of joy fill you completely? There is no longing for something more.

Jesus promises the gift of joy when we notice, develop, use and share our gifts and talents.

This week the Sisters reflect on sharing gifts and the gift of joy in return.

On Monday, November 17th the Sisters celebrated St. Elizabeth of Hungary – a woman who literally shared her gift of royalty and wealth to help others so they could share their gifts.  She shared food, clothing, health care so they could know God’s love and joy.  She must have experienced joy in order to give up so much!  For these qualities the Sisters claim her as a Patron Saint – an example to follow.

The Birthdays of two of the Sisters were celebrated this week.  A birthday always offers the opportunity to reflect on the unique gifts of the individual – and a birthday is most often an experience of joy – and ice cream and cake . . .

Some of the gardeners gathered on short notice to harvest extra produce for the Sisters’ food cupboard ministries as the holiday season draws close.  These individuals experienced the joy that comes from giving of their time in the midst of freezing temperatures to share fresh produce – the gift of their labors. Yes, there are some vegetables that love the cold!

Three of the Sisters visited the first ministry of the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer in the United States – what was once a boys boarding school in Baltimore, now a high school for boys.  From the stories shared by the Brothers who run the school, the Sisters joyfully carried our their many tasks that made the institution a home – a sign that they were sharing their gifts.

xavarian

At week’s end the Sisters’ gathered to celebrate the life of Sr. Erika who recently passed from this life to the next.  Her legacy of joy, loving service and gift of presence was shared story after story by friends, Sisters, co-workers.  She truly used and shared her gifts to bring joy to others – in turn she knew joy!

As we come into this week of giving thanks and feasting, perhaps you will take a pause to name the gifts you have been given, to thank God for these and the notice the joy that you experience when you use them to the best of your ability.

May your gifts and talents bear the fruit of joy!

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